Falalalala, Let’s Have a Drink! Take In These Boozy Gift Suggestions from Dallas Bartenders

Lakewood Landing's Jordan Lowery (who makes a damn-good Manhattan, btw)
Lakewood Landing's Jordan Lowery (who makes a damn-good Manhattan, btw) Lakewood Landing
Has holiday shopping got you tense? Well, we’re here to help. We’re here to soothe your frazzled mind. We’re here to kick that special, glittery-variety of anxiety you save for this time a year down a few notches.

So, we asked a few tenders of drinks for two gift suggestions:
1. A bottle of booze that is less than $20.
2. A fancier bottle to impress the boss or neighborhood association president.

Below are their recommendations.

Jordan Lowery

Lakewood Landing bartender

“The perfect spirit for a holiday gift under $20 is Weller 12-year old bourbon. No liquor warms the body and soul like bourbon. It is a versatile spirit that requires minimal tailoring to suit every need for a novice or an aficionado. For the occasional drinker, just add some Coke or ginger ale. Or step it up a little bit with some ginger beer and lemon juice. The seasoned drinker may just need a couple of ice cubes.

“And if you don’t like your boss, there is no better form of liquid spite than Malort ($20). Of course, I do actually enjoy Malort, but I am a different breed of cat.”

[Writer's note: Malort is hard to find outside of Chicago.Thankfully. In Hunter Hobbs' “Never Try Malort” video, reviewers had this to say: “Malort, tonight's the night you fight your dad.” And “Malort, these pants aren't gonna s*&% themselves.”]

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Chad Solomon at The Midnight Rambler
The Midnight Rambler

Chad Solomon

The Midnight Rambler, co-creator

“For $20, Hochstadter's Slow & Low, a perfect bottled Rock and Rye old fashioned.

"For $50, get Rhum JM VSOP Agricole Martinique.”

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Joel Stephenson at Double Wide
Double Wide

Joel Stephenson

Double Wide, bartender

“Our local recommendations are Oak Cliff Texas Whiskey, which comes in at $16.

"And, Casa Noble Tequila, Deep Ellum Edition, for around $55.”

David Phillips

Industry Alley, bartender

“For $20, I recommend Plantation's Xaymaca Rum ($24). It's a Jamaican pot-stilled rum. Finding such high flavor with such smoothness under 20 dollars is rare. But the rise of a rum worthy of sipping has produced Xaymaca. In a tiki cocktail, a one and one, or neat. That shit is delicious.

“For a fancy bottle of gin, I recommend Empress 1908 Gin ($38). It retails for like 38 bucks and is super unique. It's made with butterfly pea blossom, which gives it the vibrant, unique purple color. Super floral. If you know someone who loves gin and tonics, buy them this gin.“

Ben Reynolds

Knife Dallas, Head Sommelier and bar manager 

“For an affordable option, go with Tequila Arette. It's a tequila that is under $20 and drinks well above its price range.

“For one you'd give to your boss to show them you’re classy, go with either Garrison Brothers ($80) or Milam & Greene Texas Bourbons ($41).”

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Eric and Kaws at Strangeways

Eric Sanchez

Strangeways, bartender

"A bottle would genuinely love to gift and receive, R. Jelínek Fernet from the Czech Republic ($16).

“We have SO SO SO many fancy bottles to recommend considering we're the go-to for nice, hard-to-find liquors! While you might see the green and yellow Chartreuse behind many bars, the Chartreuse VEP ($155) is much harder to find, and we're always surprising other Chartreuse drinkers, and even other bartenders, with this one. The VEP has been aged much longer in oak barrels, is very limited and each bottle is numbered.”


Lee Harvey's, bartender

“Jameson is my vote. Cheers!”

Mandy Moore and Kendall Liptrap

Trick Pony, bartenders

“Four Roses Kentucky Bourbon for the $20.

”Angel's Envy Rye Whiskey for the fancy stuff.“
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.